On the Move: Long-Distance Commuting and its Consequences

"Memorial Presents" Public Forum

Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 7:30 pm (NST)

Innovation Hall, Bruneau Centre for Innovation and Research

Production and recording support provided by DELTS

Click to view the poster and program.

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Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are travelling long distances to get to work – and often living away from home for long periods. Some people spend two or more hours a day in their cars getting to and from work; others are absent for weeks at a time living in remote camps, rental accommodations, with friends, in their trucks and onboard ships and planes. A growing number of workers from elsewhere are commuting into the province for work, often staying for prolonged periods. Our aging labour force, increased housing costs, anticipated labour shortages and related megaprojects are likely to accelerate reliance on employment-related commuting in coming years. What are some of the potential costs and benefits for employers of reliance on commute workers? Who is more or less likely to engage in extended commutes? How do different commute patterns affect workers and their families; home and host communities?

The session will be introduced by Memorial Professor Barb Neis, Project Director for the SSHRC-funded On the Move Partnership. Focusing on relevant lessons from elsewhere, panel presentations will explore what the census can tell us about these 'shadow populations', and introduce the potential human resource, work-life balance, employment equity, occupational health, policy, and community development issues associated with different kinds of employment-related mobility. Presenters will include:

  • Sara Dorow, Sociologist, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)
  • Pauline Gardiner Barber, Anthropologist, Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS)
  • Michael Haan, Sociologist, University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, NB)
  • Greg Halseth, Geographer, University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George, BC)
  • Martha MacDonald, Economist, Saint Mary's University (Halifax, NS)
  • Nora Spinks, Chief Executive Officer, Vanier Institute of the Family
  • David Walters, Public Policy, Cardiff University (Cardiff, Wales, UK)

The On the Move Partnership is seeking to learn more about how this employment-related geographical mobility affects employers, workers and their families and home and host communities.

The On the Move: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context Partnership is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University of Newfoundland (including the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research), the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Center at Dalhousie University and numerous other university community partners in Canada and elsewhere.